New Directors Institute

Launched in 2005, the New Directors Institute (NDI) provides planning directors with a full day of intensive training and professional reflection. The New Directors Institute is specifically designed for first-time directors as well as more experienced directors who are facing new challenges, want to explore the nature of leadership, or seek new inspiration about the roles they play in their communities. If you are a planning director, you will not want to miss this once-a-year opportunity to:

Connect with a select group of your peers for a dynamic training program developed by APA in collaboration with a number of seasoned directors from around the country.

Learn about a variety of topics including: the nature of planning leadership; how best to communicate with, manage, train, and inspire your staff; how to deal with fiscal crisis and staffing cuts; how to deal with the mayor or other elected officials; and how to keep perspective and mental health in your new job.

Discover the secrets to success in an interactive environment led by a professional leadership trainer and a distinguished faculty of accomplished directors.

NDI is funded in part by the City Planning and Management Division of the American Planning Association. The mission of the City Planning and Management Division is to "advance the practice of city planning and management in the large-city setting."

Learn more about or join the City Planning and Management Division

New Directors Institute 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014
7:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
CM | 8.0

$595, workshop only (not attending conference)
$300, full-rate conference registrants
$395, discounted-rate conference registrants

Make plans now to participate in the New Directors Institute at APA's 2014 National Planning Conference in Atlanta, April 26-30, 2014. Don't miss this once-a-year opportunity to interact with experienced faculty as well as your peers in an exciting learning environment. 

NDI is approved for 8 Certification Maintenance (CM) credits, and you can register for this program together with your regular conference registration or as a single training workshop.


Save money and time by registering for the New Directors Institute online.

Register online

You may also register by mail or fax using a downloadable PDF registration form. A $50 paper-processing fee will be applied to each mailed or faxed paper registration.

Register for the New Directors Institute (function code W406) under Step 4 on page 4 of the PDF form at

This Year's Program

Draft agenda of the program (pdf)

This Year's Faculty

Eric Klein
President, Dharma Consulting
NDI Leadership Trainer

S. Gail Goldberg, AICP
Executive Director, ULI-Los Angeles
Former planning director of Los Angeles
Former planning director of San Diego

Gil Kelley
Urban and Strategic Planning Consultant, Portland, Oregon
Former Loeb Fellow, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Former planning director of Portland, Oregon

Theresa O'Donnell, AICP
Interim Assistant City Manager, Dallas
Director, Department of Sustainable Development and Construction, Dallas

John Rahaim
Director of Planning
City and County of San Francisco
Former planning director of Seattle

View full information on the members of the faculty (pdf)

Kudos for the Program

Here is what past NDI participants said about the program:

"Thanks for coordinating the program. It was my favorite part of the conference!"
—Dana Hazen
City Planner
City of Mountain Brook, Alabama

"I was impressed with the experience and achievements of the entire faculty. Good job recruiting them to do this."
—Brian Mabry, AICP
Senior Planner
City of Temple, Texas

"New Directors Institute taught me how to remember my passion when my inner cheerleader gets drowned out by the naysayers."

"The best aspect of the workshop was the faculty because of their vast amounts of knowledge and willingness to share."

"Participating in NDI gives you a chance to step back from the day-to-day and really think about some big-picture issues."

"What I really like about the program is that it’s not general. Because NDI is interactive, you get a chance to craft the day to meet your specific needs."

Past Institutes

New Directors Institute 2013

Final program agenda (pdf)

Institute faculty (pdf)

New Directors Institute 2012

Final program agenda (pdf)

Institute faculty (pdf)

New Directors Institute 2011

Final program agenda (pdf)

Institute faculty (pdf)

New Directors Institute 2010

Final program agenda (pdf)

Institute faculty (pdf)

New Directors Institute 2009

Final program agenda (pdf)

Institute faculty (pdf)

New Directors Institute 2008

Final program agenda (pdf)

Institute faculty (pdf)


For more information on the New Directors Institute, please contact Ann Dillemuth, AICP, at